There’s nothing better in Minnesota than local farmers markets that provide growing plants, blooming flowers, locally made meats, cheeses, jams, pickles, fresh-grown produce, and live entertainment. And what better markets to try than Minneapolis Farmers Market’s two locations—Lyndale and Nicollet Mall markets, opening April 25 and May 7 respectively.
Early Season Finds
While the availability of fresh produce relies heavily on the weather, the market will be full of beautiful plants, flowers, immediately consumable foods, meat, cheese, and egg vendors early in the season. Within the first couple of months, you’ll also see leafy greens including fresh lettuce and spinach; herbs such as green onions, cilantro, and basil; then asparagus and rhubarb.
Caribbean Heat will return to sell its hot sauces, salsa, and tortillas, and you can snag some tasty pork from Tollefson Family Pork or Utecht’s Homegrown Pork. Some other returning vendors include Dehn’s Gardens, Goldeman’s Greenhouse, Nelson Greenhouse and Gardens, Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm, Bar 5, and Wisconsin Cheese Outlet, among many others.
Minneapolis Farmers Market’s assistant director Mao Lee reminds market visitors not to get discouraged if they don’t find the fresh produce they’re looking for right away. “If you don’t see peppers or tomatoes, don’t be frustrated,” she says. “You can’t grow tomatoes when it’s still 40 degrees outside.” Lee encourages visitors to return to the markets on a regular basis in order to find new produce that becomes available at different times throughout the season.
Lyndale vs. Nicollet Mall
While both locations will include fresh produce, consumable foods, plants, and flowers throughout the season, each market has a different atmosphere. The Minneapolis Lyndale Market offers convenient parking. Not only that, but you can also drive through the market to pick up any heavy bulk items you buy from one of the vendors. This could include flats of plants, large, heavy planters, crates of tomatoes, etc. On Saturdays, chefs will be giving demonstrations of meals you can make using produce found at the market. And Sunday mornings include live music. The Lyndale Market runs daily from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 25 through October.
The Nicollet Mall Market is more hustle and bustle. Most people stop by the market during their lunch break for one or two items, so you’ll find a lot of grab-and-go foods that are ready to eat. This location does not offer live music. The Nicollet Mall Market runs 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays from May 7 through October.
You may be wondering about the previous Government Center Market, which ran for two years. According to Lee, they didn’t gain enough traction with vendors, so they opted to forego that market this year.
An Accessible Market For All
Minneapolis Farmers Market wants to make sure fresh, local foods are available to everyone. That’s why both locations provide a SNAP/EBT program. SNAP/EBT are government benefits that provide families in need with healthy foods. This program allows customers to decide how much they want to spend at the market. Customers swipe their card at the EBT market booth and redeem tokens valued at $1 or $5 to spend at participating vendors.
So, whether you’re planning a family dinner or stopping by for a quick snack, check out the Minneapolis Farmers Market. You’re bound to find something tasty and nutritious.